Many speakers are likable. Many are trustworthy. But not all are connected.
If you want to be effective, you must quickly form a bridge between yourself and your audience. Here are five techniques that will help you create a state of us-ness:
- Eye contact. The people in your audience want to believe that you notice them and are glad that they are there. In a random manner (as opposed to scanning like a lighthouse), give 2 or 3 seconds of eye contact to as many people as you can.
- Universal topics. Include stories that everyone can relate to: conflicts, mistakes, unexpected wins, joyful events, lessons learned.
- Show that you know who they are. Talk about their website, their recent successes or challenges, or a conversation you had with an audience member on the way in.
- Tell a story about yourself. The story should reveal something about yourself when you knew less than you know now. “I used to quiver at the back of the room, knowing that I would have to walk down that aisle and introduce the keynote speaker.”
- Express emotion. Share your sadness about an unfortunate event, or your bewilderment about how people reacted to something, or your disappointment about a certain outcome. But be sure you make it relatable to your audience.